Christmas Reading Times and Books of the Year 2023

Christmas Reading Times 2023

Every year we eagerly look forward to the Christmas Reading Times, compiled by Helen Smith, Librarian at Eckington School. Helen scours the TV and streaming listings to find films and TV series based on books. This is an every increasing task with the proliferation of streaming platforms. From Julia Donaldson picture books to Jack Reacher thrillers, there is a wide range of viewing based on books and traditional stories. A highlight for me is ‘The Essex Serpent’ and ‘Lessons in Chemistry’ on Apple TV.

There is also a Christmas Reading Times Primary listing programmes and films based on young children’s books.

It’s certainly a good year for Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Sheffler’s picture book adaptations! I’m really looking forward to the new adaptation of Tabby McTat (BBC 1 25th December 2.35pm). Here’s a trailer to enjoy in anticipation.

Here are our Top Ten most borrowed fiction titles of 2023:

  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
  • Scythe (Book 1) by Neal Shusterman
  • The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Five Survive by Holly Jackson
  • Nothing more to tell by Karen M McManus

Top Ten Most Borrowed Authors 2023

  • Sarah J. Maas
  • Robert Muchamore
  • Neal Shusterman
  • Holly Jackson
  • George Orwell
  • J. K. Rowling
  • Bonnie Garmus
  • Malorie Blackman
  • Claire Keegan
  • Karen M. McManus

Top Ten Most borrowed non-fiction 2023

  • Better day coming: Blacks and equality 1890 – 2000 by Adam Fairclough
  • Global perspectives on sustainable fashion by Alison Gwilt
  • Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall
  • The Connell Guide to how to read a poem by Malcolm Hebron
  • A History of the World in 21 Women by Jenni Murray
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez
  • Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas
  • How to break up with fast fashion by Lauren Bravo
  • Why chemical reactions happen by James Keeler and Peter Wothers

A selection of Books of the Year lists:

Best Books for Teens of 2023 – Five Books Expert Recommendations

The best books of 2023 | Best books of the year | The Guardian

The 10 Best Books of 2023 – The New York Times (

It’s interesting to get an American perspective on the Best Books of the Year. Here are the NYT Top Ten from 2023:

Best Books of the Year 2023

The results are in – Waterstones and Foyles have announced their books of the year. It’s pleasing to see that our L6th inaugural book choice and our next Community Book Club read triumphed as Foyles Fiction Book of the Year. ‘Yellowface’ by R. F. Kuang is an addictive, clever satire. I’m looking forward to discussing it with the Book Club in January.

I couldn’t agree more with the comments on the Foyles website: As unputdownable as it is wickedly funny, Kuang’s pin-sharp thriller of the machinations of the publishing world is a novel to gobble up in one, breathless sitting.

Read more about the 3 chosen titles here: Foyles Books of the Year – Foyles

The non-fiction winner was  ‘Eve: How The Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution‘ by Cat Bohannon. Read a review here

Waterstones choice was Katherine Rundell’s fantasy ‘Impossible Creatures’ as their overall Book of the Year and it also won the Foyles Children’s Book of the Year. ‘Impossible Creatures’ has the hallmarks of a children’s classic – packed full of adventures, original world-building and sympathetic characters. The writing is exquisite and the cast of creatures endlessly entertaining and immersive. It feels like a combination of Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials and is a magical read. Fans will be pleased to hear that Rundell is already working on a follow-up novel and a trilogy is planned.

Katherine Rundell wins Waterstones book of 2023 with ‘immediate classic’ | Books | The Guardian

Waterstones Debut Novel of the Year was awarded to Alice Winn’s ‘In Memoriam’

Waterstones Book of the Year 2023 | The Winner